Last year ok last month I mentioned that I started
kicking around OS/2 on one of my workstations at home and found it still
relatively useful. I also mentioned how Serenity Systems had been working on a
licensed version of OS/2 called eComStation. I had read a lot about ECS on the
web, but hadnt gotten a chance to use it. I figured there was no better time
than the present.
After checking out ECS at the eComStation Web site, the folks at
Serenity Systems and Mensys
provided me with a review copy. Longtime users of OS/2 would be impressed.
Serenity Systems has done a lot to improve the OS/2 experience. Theyve taken
the basic code from IBM and added many new and third party features such as the
SciTech SNAP Graphics and Danis506 IDE drivers.
Unlike most other OS/2 installations Ive ever done, ECS
installed like a dream. It wasnt completely as simple as a Windows
installation, but was easily in the same neighborhood as YAST installations
Ive done with SuSe Linux. The only glitchy point with the ECS installation I
found was driver support. I had some network and sound card driver installation
problems. ECS has a wide variety of pre-installed drivers with it, but if you
consider it, you should make sure that your particular hardware is supported by
ECS or OS/2 before you install it. IBM still maintains a list
of drivers and so do some third
Ive installed ECS 1.2 on an old HP Kayak with 512MB of RAM
and an 800Mhz Pentium III. No, thats not state of the art hardware by any
means, but seeing as how ECS and OS/2 have lower hardware requirement to begin
with and OS/2 was designed originally for a 486 processor, I thought it was a
fair baseline machine. For testing purposes, Ive also configured up a copy of
SuSe 10.0 on an identical box. When I do comparisons to Windows XP, Im going to
give XP the benefit of the doubt by using my 2.8Ghz production
In the short couple of weeks Ive been using ECS, Ive become
attached to it. Ill be updating you later about how it works as an Windows and
Linux alternative. So far, the only drawback in comparison to either of them is
the price. Linux of course is free. By virtue of being included with almost
every PC, Windows XP is also free.
eComStation 1.2 costs $224. Thats in line with Windows XP Professional,
but its still a big barrier.